As I arrived at Sadler’s Wells for my first residency, I felt incredibly nervous. Just being in the building felt very overwhelming, I was very worried about feeling awkward and meeting 39 completely new people and whether they would like me! My fears quickly disappeared as I met the dancers and NYDC staff, everyone was so so welcoming and warm, the energy in the room was so exciting and I knew this experience was going to be special.
As soon as we arrived at Tring, we were straight to the studio which was beautiful, surrounded by countryside, such an open, bright space to spend the week. Both Damien and James had this air of excitement and anticipation about them and I was bursting with excitement and very starstruck to see them move and hear their ideas. We started with a class, which set the tone for the week. I had never seen a human move so quick on the floor, Damien was literally like a helicopter whipping about his space and James’ movement quality was so effortless, I couldn’t help but wholeheartedly smile. All I could think was, I need to learn as much as possible from this experience, I immediately realised how utterly lucky I was to have the opportunity to learn from these two phenomenal artists.
Over the next few days, I found it really moving how everyone just seemed to click. A bond between us all was beginning to form as we would learn from different company members each day. Damien would pick out different dancers for us to observe and these moments were truly beautiful as the support and mutual willingness to find what Damien and James were looking for became really apparent. Even though we felt exhausted or sore, we felt the need and desire to keep striving for more and find things in ourselves we didn’t know were there.
A particular highlight, one of so many, was our first improvisation as a company where the buzz as a group was insane. Each of us were feeding off of one another, and experiencing so much joy from dancing together, sharing our passion and finding a real rhythm as a group.
I was just in awe of everything from how individual everybody was to how fab the meals were, to the toolbox sessions. One of my favourites being our last session with poet Yemisi Blake which solidified for me how close everybody had gotten within such a small space of time and how I now had 39 new, lovely friends that I still have so much to experience and learn with them in the coming residencies. On leaving London on the Sunday, I felt as though I had so much information, inspiration and precious memories to take with me and treasure for the next residency in February. I had this real warm, fuzzy feeling on the train home and I realised how genuinely happy I was when reflecting on everything that had happened that week, it was simply magical!